Pelagic magic: The purple-striped jelly Chrysaora colorata

Pelagic magic: The purple-striped jelly Chrysaora colorata

Photo: Joe Platko

Local beachgoers and divers have seen many of these jellies in recent weeks—these individuals were found along Cannery Row this week!

Photo: David Slater

Purple-stripes are magnificent magenta medusivores, filling their bellies with jellies and other gelatinous gastronomy ingested on the go—with a casserole of planktonic crustaceans for dessert.

Photo: Phil Lemley

Fueled by this diverse diet, C. colorata can grow to gargantuan proportions—nearly 3 feet wide and over a dozen feet long for the reigning purple champions! 

Photo: Joe Platko (July 2014)

Many of the purple-stripes we’ve seen recently are missing some or all of their frilly-mouth arms—a potential sign of a leatherback sea turtle attack! These jellies have been through a *lot* by the time they reach the shoreline…

Photo: Phil Lemley

The lifecycle of the purple-striped jelly was discovered by our very own jelly aquarists back in the mid-90s (shoutout to Freya Sommer, now Dive Safety Officer at Hopkins Marine Station!) and many of the C. colorata you’ve seen at the Aquarium over the years are home-grown!

Found from Southern California north to Canada, there’s some evidence they may be shifting their range to coolers waters—you can help scientists track them on iNaturalist and jellywatch.org

Thanks again to Joe, David and Phil for the photos, and thank you Ocean for sharing these majestic mauve marvels with us! Here’s some more C. colorata content to close this post out: Home-grown purple-striped jellies at the Aquarium!

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